The Week 16 guide for the Online Retreat in Everyday Life is here.

This week we imagine what it must have been like for Jesus to grow up. The Bible doesn’t give us much about this – he seems to go from infant to adult in three sentences or so. While I’m sure Mary felt that the time flew by, in the way of all mothers, there was certainly more to it than “He became strong and wise” (Luke 2:40).

Though I grew up hearing about a personal relationship with Jesus, it wasn’t until I started participating in this retreat – both the last time (two years ago) and this time – that I began to think of Jesus as a real person. For me, that’s been the difference between an arms-length observance and a personal relationship.

As we celebrate Holy Family Sunday today and continue our celebration of the Christmas season, our reflections take us down the path, once again, of the real people of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus must have been. We might consider the frustrations Jesus must have faced – not just as the Son of God, but as a teenage boy. We might reflect on his maturing relationship with his parents and what sorts of disciplines he experienced to learn to be the man we meet later in the Gospels. We might find ourselves, as we let go of our inhibitions and restrictions, really starting to relate to this guy who saved us all, but who was first the “carpenter’s son.”